Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What's for Dinner?? White Chicken Chili

White chicken chili is an easy dish that I'm sure many of you will enjoy. The green chilies give the chili a nice flavor, but are not spicy. This meal would also work nicely in your crock pot, by dinner you would have a hot meal ready to serve.

1 medium onion-chopped
1 (4oz) can of green chilies
2 teaspoons cumin
2 (15 oz) cans of great northern beans(I've mixed in other white beans for variety)
1 cup chicken broth(I use bouillon cubes)
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken(finely chopped)

Add all the ingredients to a large stock pot and simmer. Garnish with cheese, sour cream and crushed tortillas chips.(our favorite part)



Friday, December 26, 2008

Train Your Mind

Merry Christmas Ladies. Now we can all take a deep breathe, relax for a day and then hurry on to work on the next big thing.

We are in No. Carolina visiting at my brother-in-laws house. Eric's family is all here for a total of 19 people, 9 children and 10 adults. Yesterday we worked our way through a mountain of gifts. We like to take turns opening the presents, so everyone can see what the receiver has opened. My children surprised me with a digital camera, so be sure to check the blog page often for new photos.

We head back to Virginia in the morning. I'm looking forward to some quiet, uneventful days between now and New Year's Day. The next big thing in my life will be my oldest son's high school graduation.

Lately we are hearing a lot about the economy, the suffering real estate market, the stock market numbers and the bail out of auto makers. None of which is good news. Some of you may even be feeling a financial pinch and may have had to cut expenses in some areas of your life. My husband and I have had our lean years, years where the majority of income was spent on rent for our apartment. We had to forgo many luxuries during those days, because we couldn't afford any extras. During those years we saw God provide clearly for us and we rejoiced in His provisions for us.

Every event in life gives us an opportunity to response. How we respond ultimately affects our attitude, joy and our families. How will you respond to the events in your life that are difficult?

In the word of God we are given instructions on how to respond to life's events. Phil. 4:8 says "whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things."

We have a choice . We can focus on our difficulties until we are overwhelmed with discouragement and despair or we can focus on the goodness of God and what He has done for us. This is no way means that we never give ourselves a chance to mourn or think about how to solve a problem or that everything will be rosy if we only think rosy thoughts. It does mean that instead of covering our head with our pillow, we can focus on all that the Lord has done for us. Even in the worse of life's situations God is good. His goodness and love for us doesn't change and that is something worth our focus. As you focus on God, replacing thoughts of misery with thoughts of God, you will find joy, a right attitude and your family will follow your lead. (Everyone knows if the mama ain't happy, nobodies happy.)

So as the year comes to an end, begin to train your mind to think on things that are pure, lovely and praiseworthy. When you find yourself worrying or despairing stop yourself. Re-focus. Repeat scripture to yourself, listen to praise music, call an upbeat friend or read your bible.

Ladies, I love your feedback, please let me know how refocusing your thoughts helped you through a difficult time.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Happiness Isn't Candy for Dinner Every Night

Shop, shop and shop some more.

I don't know about you but it takes me forever to get all the Christmas shopping done. I think I'm just a very slow shopper. Even with a list, I'm still a slow shopper. When I think I'm making some head way, I get everything out, divided it into piles for each child and realize there isn't much in the piles. This year I have not come up with one really neat present that I'm extra excited about giving or that I know the children will be extra excited about receiving. However, I'm sure they will enjoy their gifts and my husband I enjoy the chance Christmas gives us to spoil them a bit.

Today I read the following quote by Washington Irving: "It was the policy of the good old gentleman to make his children feel that home was the happiest place in the world; and I value this delicious home-feeling as one of the choicest gifts a parent can bestow."

A happy home that is one of the most important gifts we can give to our children. It is however much easy to go to Walmart and buy a new bike or a Wii system. Obviously there would be some very happy children at my house if they opened up a brand new video game system, but the happiest would be short lived.

Creating your home to be the happiest place in the world is a never ending job. It is something I need to work on all year long. So how can we give the gift of a happy home to our children.
1. Love your husband and let the children know you love their dad.
2. Love your God and share your love of God with the kids
3. Discipline your children. Children that understand right from wrong and understand the standards their parents have set up are happier. Children feel safer and more loved with boundaries for their behavior.
4. Have fun together. Have ice cream for dinner or camp out in the living room or bake cookies together.
5. Teach your children that your home is a safe place. Mean/ teasing behavior is not allowed. Children need to feel they can be themselves in their home without someone pulling them down.

This is just the tip of the ice burg and I by no means have mastered what it takes to make a happy home. Probably the most important thing we can do is PRAY. Pray for today and work on making your home a happy place today, when tomorrow comes pray and work on that day. One day at a time.

This is the best gift you can give each other, so get everyone involved. Ask them how your home can be happier-be prepared for the "ice cream everyday" or "candy only for dinner" answers. In the end we want our children to have fond memories and look forward to coming home for a visit.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Easy Breakfast/Dinner Recipe

Tonight's dinner was easy and delicious. I thought you might all be interested giving this one a try. It is called Sunday Breakfast Casserole, except we had it on Thursday for dinner. I guess that makes it Thursday Dinner Casserole.

We fried up the sausage earlier in the day, when we got home in the evening it was just a few quick steps before it was ready to bake.

1/4 cup onions and green peppers, chopped and browned
2 cups ham, bacon or sausage, cooked
1 cup grated cheese
12 eggs
1 cup milk
2 lbs frozen hash browns(chunks or grated)
1/2 tsp. salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Mix together onion, peppers, meat and cheese. Mix eggs and milk-add hash browns, salt and pepper. Combine meat mixture with egg mixture and pour into a buttered 9x13"pan. Top with 1/4 cup more grated cheese. Bake 30 minutes (ours took closer to an hour) until set. This made a large cassarole and we even had some leftovers.
We added some fruit and bread to complete our meal.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Marriage Secret

Dear Ladies,

I have just finished writing a long letter to a friend who is ready to end her marriage. All around me it seems couples are falling apart. Several are couples who have been married for over 20 years. Twenty years is a long time and yet they are willing to walk away and start again. How did this happen? Well I know for sure they didn't start having problems a few years ago, they started having problems on the honeymoon.

Here is a funny story about problems starting on the honeymoon. I got angry at my husband on our honeymoon. It seemed to me he laughed at me quite often and I didn't like it. I said something to him and he laughed at me, but I didn't think it was funny. I went to the bathroom and shut the door. I showed him, I was upset, I wouldn't talk to him that would teach him a lesson. My husband explained to me that he wasn't laughing at me, he was laughing with me; he enjoyed me and what I said and did. Now that's sweet, if your honey tells you he enjoys you. However if my husband hadn't communicated that to me I wouldn't have known. In my mind he was being mean and making funny of me. This may seem to be a small and funny moment, but it could have been the beginning of a wall that I built in my heart.

Those little moments in our marriage in and of themselves aren't what cause couples to divorce, However, 20 years of little problems build on each other and make bigger problems. The problems are not dealt with and they grow and multiply.

A big secret to a successful marriage is communicating. It is ok to let your husband know he has hurt your feelings, or treated you badly. Chances are he meant it differently then it was perceived. When we were first marriage we would say "I heard you say..." or "This is what I meant to say..." By doing this we learned to communicate and see how what we said was received.

"So friends-How is your marriage?' Don't wait until your problems are too big to solve, work on them today. Pray together for protection for your marriage. Marriage is a holy institution, therefore Satan wants to destroy marriages-including yours.

Blessings to all of you,

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